International tourist arrivals surpassed 1 billion for the first time last year, with the Asia-Pacific region posting the biggest increase in foreign visitors, a UN body said yesterday, adding that numbers would continue to rise this year.
The number of international tourist arrivals increased by 4 percent to 1.035 billion last year, up from 996 million in 2011, the World Tourism Organisation said in an annual survey.
“2012 was a year of constant economic instability in the entire world, especially in the euro zone. Despite this, international tourism managed to maintain its course,” secretary-general Taleb Rifai said.
The organisation forecast that international tourist numbers would grow this year, although at a slightly lower rate of 3 percent to 4 percent.
The Asia-Pacific region posted the largest growth in visitor arrivals last year, with the number of foreign tourists up by 6.5 percent to 233 million.
Growth in the number of foreign visitors was highest in south-east Asia, with the number of arrivals up by 8.7 percent over 2011.
Tourist numbers climbed 4.1 percent in emerging economies, compared with a 3.6 percent in advanced economies. – Sapa-AFP